18 Feb 2011

Winegrowers win frost fan noise battle

12:30 pm on 18 February 2011

North Canterbury winegrowers have won their appeal against a Hurunui District Council ruling that limits the noise level for wind machines used for frost protection.

The Environment Court has ruled that the noise limit for frost fans be set at 55 decibels without any further adjustment for special audible characteristics.

The Hurunui District Council made changes to its district plan to limit the noise from frost fans after fans at a Waipara Valley vineyard upset neighbours in 2008.

During negotiations last year the council and winegrowers agreed on the 55 decibel limit.

However local residents group Common Sense wanted the limit to allow for adjustments for tone and frequency.

The winegrowers' lawyer Marija Batistich says that could have potentially dropped the limit by a further five decibels to 50 decibels, which both the wine industry and the council had concerns about.

She says the flat 55 decibel limit creates certainty for growers and also assists the council with compliance.

The Environment Court has given all parties until the end of the month to come back to it if they disagree with the ruling.